When the path leads onward over rocks and crags with only cairns to lead the way our hope of catching the promised view had diminished. We had started in the valley with blue skies above us. Birds in birches, the giggling sound of water tumbling in the streams, strengthened by the morning coffee, we soon left the trees behind us walking over alpine meadows. But as soon we reached the vegetation line the fog had lifted from the sea below and choked all discussions. We hiked in silence over boulders close to stagnant pools as time stretched into a suffocating noose. We knew we had to cross the peak before the path led down again and finally, we reached a cairn straddling the broad peak. 

We stopped to catch our breath when suddenly the sky above us opened radiantly blue with clouds pillowed softly far below, and we saw other peaks, starving islands in a silent sea, we stayed silent for a while before we hiked down into the next valley.

only the raven
sees the paint-strokes of bloom — 
purple saxifrage

This describes a hike we took a few years ago on the island of Senja in Norway. What is your story about hikes? Join us at dVerse where Frank hosts haibun Monday where we write about hikes.

The purple saxifrage is an alpine flower you may find even where nothing else seems to be able to grow.

24 responses to “Fog-silenced

  1. I love the compound adjective of your title, Björn – I’m a fog and mist fan. Getting lost is the fun part of walking and hiking. I also love the description of the scenery, the opening of the sky, and the paint-strokes of purple saxifrage.

  2. As a life-long hiker, I figured you would share something glorious; and you did. A beautiful write, terrific sharing.

  3. I love this part: “we saw other peaks, starving islands in a silent sea” and the picture of the bright flowers between the grey rocks is so pretty (the other photo is magnificent, looks like the kingdom of

  4. An interesting poem! I thought maybe the cairn at the top of the mountain was covid-19 and the blue sky the result of reduced CO2 due to being confined and traveling less! :Love the pretty purple flowers!

  5. Great title. As someone who has climbed mountains, I especially like this line, “we saw other peaks, starving islands in a silent sea,” This rings true for my experience of this kind of view.

  6. This is a very skillful description of how a hike through the fog, which can be dull and frustrating, can be transformed suddenly into something profound. I will look out for purple saxifrage next time I’m out in the Alps!

  7. I am right there with you, Bjorn. We’ve hiked a number of times….starting in the fresh clear air…cairns easy to see. And oh yes….the silence increases as the fog thickens….I like the word “noose” here. The pace slows….and especially when hiking up to a peak…fog to me is choking and produces fear in me (which is why I think the word “noose” is so applicable here). And oh yes….the relief when the fog breaks and the eyes take in the view as far as the eye can see. You’ve described this so well!

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